Just in time for election season, we here in Charlotte finally know what races we’re going to be voting in this fall.
Our state’s political districts — the boundary lines that decide where our representatives come from — have been in flux for years amid a series of legal challenges saying they were illegally gerrymandered.
Our U.S. Congress maps have been changed once already. Now, for the first time since 2011, the General Assembly maps are changing.
If you really want to nerd out on all the court cases that got us here, you can read this comprehensive explainer.
Candidate filing began this week for races across the state. Unless something truly unprecedented happens in the court system, the lines as they stand today will be the ones we vote with this fall.
Want to find out your specific districts? The Mecklenburg County Board of Elections site appears to have updated its district look-up tool to the correct version of things.
Here are the overall maps.
None of Mecklenburg County’s incumbents were bumped out of their districts but there were significant changes. In some cases, districts represented by Republicans now have an electorate that swung to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The state Democratic Party is optimistic it can break the veto-proof majority Republicans hold in the state legislature — and Mecklenburg County is key in that plan.
You can zoom in on the new maps here.
This is the old N.C. House district maps for Mecklenburg County. They were used as recently as 2016.
Here’s what the new lines for 2018 will look like. These were redrawn by the Republican-led state legislature in 2017. A “special master” (aka an independent elections expert) drew his own version of the state House maps by the courts didn’t choose to go with them for Mecklenburg County.
By looking at the maps, you can make the argument that they are less gerrymandered. But they’re still under consideration by the court system. Once the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether partisan gerrymandering is OK — that is, shaping districts for partisan advantage — instead of the clearly illegal racial gerrymandering, we could see changes.
This is the old N.C. Senate district maps for Mecklenburg County. They were also used in 2016.
The 2017 GOP plan and the special master plan for Mecklenburg County’s new Senate districts are actually the same. Here they are.
As you can see, there are some significant changes across the board, particularly in West End.
Had trouble keeping up? Don’t worry — even our elected officials have had a hard time with this.
City councilwoman LaWana Mayfield announced in January that she was running for N.C. Senate, intending to challenge incumbent Joel Ford in the Democratic primary. The problem? She no longer lived in that district.
As recently as 2016, Mayfield lived in District 38, which Ford represents.
But the maps as redrawn by the General Assembly and the special master in 2017 both have Mayfield now in District 37 — N.C. Sen. Jeff Jackson’s district.
Chances that Mayfield challenges Jackson are slim, but Mayfield hasn’t said whether she’ll still run.